Reviewing in Word Online is the New Track Changes

You can now track changes in Word online by changing the status to "Reviewing". Enable this for yourself, for your collaborators, or disallow changes for yourself. Learn all about the where, why, and how in this article.

Office 365 collaboration features make the user experience behind working from anywhere a reality. The use of the online version of Word has been incredibly useful for working in the cloud. A recent update makes collaboration from anywhere even easier with easier access to reviewing in Office online applications.

On the Word desktop application, track changes is great for collaboration. If you enable track changes, anything you change will be marked as a suggestion that can be approved or denied. This feature initially was not present in the online version of Word, so you’d have to tell someone to open the file in the local app to see any of those markups.

Now this feature is available on Word online and is always visible in the top ribbon. It’s just a quick drop down to start tracking changes, or make the file read only for yourself to block changes. Let’s go over the options and the steps to enabling these statuses.

Finding the new editing options

You’ll find this feature as a drop down selection up at the top, on the ribbon below the doc title and next to Clippy’s descendent, the “tell me what you want to do” help search bar. The default is set to editing mode. This allows you to make changes as normal, including autosave functions. If you delete something, it’s deleted. If you change wording, its changed, etc.. Version history can help you get back any content you overwrite, but should be used as a correction to a mistake, not as a workflow for reviewing and tracking changes.

Click on the drop down button with the pen icon to change from editing to either reviewing or viewing.

Changing the status to reviewing

The reviewing option is great for when you want to add suggestions such as changing wording or if you want to make it clear to your collaborators what has changed and allow input on those changes. This also makes it so the previous collaborator can see the suggested changes and allows them to change it further or restore their original content if desired.

To enable reviewing, click the drop down that says “editing”, and change to the “reviewing” status. It’s that easy! You can also turn on reviewing by going to the review tab at the top and clicking track changes which you can enable just for yourself or for all collaborators.

View more track changes options under the review tab.

Yep, the reviewing option is just track changes rebranded. The changes you make, such as adding new text, will be marked up in a different color. Any content that you delete will still be visible with a red strikeout for text or pictures. Some changes cannot be tracked such as resizing images. In this case, you will receive a pop up warning asking if you want to proceed or revert to the original format.

This is a sample of an article draft after reviewing was turned on and changed were made.

To accept changes, any collaborator can right click and select accept. If instead the user wants to deny changes and revert back to the original text, they can right click and choose deny. Collaborators can also review many changes at once. To do so, they would have to go to the review tab and click one of the two last symbols, for either previous and next. Unfortunately, the option to accept or reject all changes with a click is currently only available on the desktop application.

Viewing as your personal read only

Changing your staus from editing to viewing is available in both Word and Excel online. Viewing will prevent you from making any changes to a document, essentially making it read only for yourself. Use this function to prevent any accidental changes or errors especially for templates or completed documents.

Changing the status to viewing will open this document in a read-only view.

If you try to make changes, a yellow bar will pop up letting you know the file is in read only mode. However, there will be a button to easily open this file in an editable format. You can also start editing by clicking the “edit document” dropdown in the upper righthand corner.

Click either of the edit document buttons to go back to an editable document.

It’s important to note that this makes the file read only just for you and only for that current session. To make it read only for all users, you would have to change the permission setting on the file.

Stop, collaborate, and review

There are so many uses for enabling track changes in word online. Start today and enable the reviewing or viewing functions to make your online collaboration more dynamic. You can easily stop tracking your changes by clicking the drop down at the top or going to the review tab and turning it off from there. Easy as… well, track changes has always been, but now its online and accessible from anywhere.

Working together, but at different times just got a whole lot easier.

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